April 8, 2009

Internship programs in the US - work study programs!

We have not tried to hide the fact that it is generally difficult for international students studying in the USA to obtain jobs while doing their studies. Several articles on this site have explained the types and processes involved in obtaining such jobs including:
However, there are exceptions to every rule, and this one is no different. A few well-structured internship programs in the USA, which allow graduate international students to earn a significant amount of money while studying exist. Some students even earn enough to pay their entire tuition plus living expenses!

Because these internship programs are integrated with the student's academic program, and is a required part of the coursework, the internship qualifies as Curricular Practical Training (CPT), from the very beginning of the program, and the employment is permitted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

Two such internships programs, the HTIR program and the Schiller International University Work Study program, are highlighted below. With both of these programs, international students can work full-time from their first day on campus!
  1. HTIR Co-op Programs
    "HTIR International Resources, Inc. (HTIR), is a global advisory and student support provider that has established Cooperative Education Programs at numerous colleges and universities throughout the United States. Students enrolled in the HTIR Cooperative Education Program:
    • will be able to study in a fully accredited American college or university,
    • will have the legal right to work in full-time, paid, Curricular Practical Training (CPT) employment with American based companies for the entire length of their degree program, and
    • will be able to earn American wages, valuable work experience, as well as a recognized master degree upon completion of the program".
    In other words, HTIR is a private organization that refers international students to United States colleges and universities that offer paid internship employment to qualified Master degree students.

    With the HTIR program, either part time or full time employment is allowed. All of the internship positions are with off-campus US-based companies in the vicinity of the university. Wages are paid at the same rate as for domestic workers in similar employment and vary from minimum wage for entry level CPT applicants and higher wages for those with more skills and work experience. Classes are offered during daytime, evening and week-ends to accommodate the student's schedule.

    Visit the official HTIR sign up page to apply for the HTIR program and obtain more information.

  2. The Schiller International University Work Study program
    Schiller International University, located in Largo, Florida offers a similar program for its international MBA candidates in one of the following concentrations: Executive MBA and MS Computer Engineering programs.

    All co-op applicants will be required to be employed in CPT working with an American company in the Clearwater-Tampa-St.Petersburg metropolitan area. Under the Schiller program, Internship jobs can be part-time (about 20 hours per week) or full-time (40 hours per week), as the student may choose. Classes are offered on week days, evenings and week-ends to accommodate the various work schedules of the students.

    Visit the official Schiller international university work study program page to learn more and apply.
Both of the programs described above offer international graduate students the unique ability to begin working and paying for their education immediately - flexibility and earning ability - which is not easy for any international student to find in the USA.

Note that several institutions offer similar programs in the USA e.g the US department of state's student internship program (browse the pdf version). Students may have to contact schools directly to find out if they participate.

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